Technology and innovation have a tendency to gain tremendous momentum, bringing about innovative changes that cause significant disruption for industries. Those businesses that choose to fight or simply can’t keep up with change share the same dismal fate of falling out of competition. Those businesses that embrace disruption stand a better chance of riding the wave perceived chaos, better equipped to secure position in the state of industry that follows. So far there have been four major upheavals in industry, the most recent of which being coined Industry 4.0.
Over the last half-century, robots have been relied upon as an integral part of manufacturing. Their presence offers incredible benefits, including enhanced production speed, accuracy, and tireless labor. However, they can’t do it all. As a result, robots have been increasingly prevalent in the manufacturing environment year after year. Engineered to work collaboratively alongside their human counterparts, these smaller and agiler implements on the manufacturing floor are referred to as collaborative robots.
In the wake of what is likely the first occurrence of its kind, Uber Technologies Inc. has decided to halt its field testing of autonomous vehicles in cities like, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Toronto, and Phoenix after one of its autonomous vehicles struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. It has been reported that the pedestrian stepped in front of the autonomous vehicle suddenly, which will likely take focus as authorities continue investigating the incident that occurred Sunday night.
What is known at this point is that the woman had crossed the street outside of a crosswalk when she was struck. The autonomous vehicle did have a human safety driver supervising inside the cabin of the vehicle, who said the incident occurred “like a flash”. The supervisor also reported their first indication of the collision was the sounds of the collision itself. Some experts following the industry closely expressed significant alarm when it was revealed no braking or swerving maneuvers were enacted to avoid the collision. The incident took place around 10 pm local time, at which point the pedestrian was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. She later succumbed to her injuries. According to local authorities, Uber is cooperating fully with the Tempe Police Department during the investigation.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), also often referred to as small and midsize businesses (SMBs), have a tremendous advantage over larger enterprises and many don’t even know it. Because of SMEs’ energy and agility, they are more able to adapt to changes in the marketplace, adopting and implementing ERP solutions and emerging technologies to give them an operational advantage over larger enterprises.
SMEs are not subject to the same bureaucratic processes that corporations and other large enterprise have adopted over the years. Winning customers over with a more modern sensibility and customer-centric approach, SMEs can perform when they need to and turn on a dime when the market demands it. With larger enterprises, the adage of a big ship takes longer to steer fits appropriately alongside industry examples. Their size makes them far more able to weather storms, but less capable of maneuvering. Therefore, SMEs should be getting on board with ERP software platforms and modern automation tools to make their jobs easier now, before their current systems are outgrown at a time when operations can’t afford to be put on hold for an implementation.
Manufacturers are implementing technological advancements to enhance automation processes every day. We call this latest wave of rapid development Industry 4.0, the fourth industrial revolution. While modernization presents numerous opportunities for growth and process enhancement, experts are increasingly aware of their need for heightened security in an increasingly insecure digital landscape. Manufacturing and other industries are taking a closer look at cloud-based ERP and unified systems to address vulnerabilities.
With the industrial robot population on course to reach 1.7 million by 2020, enterprises the world over are reevaluating how they approach managing a mechanized workforce. To address modern manufacturing operations’ increasing reliance on automation and robotics, the C-suite is preparing to welcome a new designation among its ranks: Chief Robotics Officer.
Addressing An Increasingly Automated Workforce
While the concept may be a new one, a study conducted by Myria Research, a Massachusetts-based research and advisory services business, puts projections of the emerging CRO position in 60% for Fortune 500 executive teams. Beyond that, the Chief Robotics Officer Research Scenario predicts the Robotics & Intelligent Operational Systems (RIOS) technologies market to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025. The figure is tremendous when compared to the firm’s $63 billion market valuation in 2015. However, companies cannot afford to discount the increasing prevalence of RIOS in their own daily operations as well as those of their competitors. The projections include full hardware, software, and services segmentation in the figure, which represents a 30% CAGR to 2020 and 40% from 2020 until 2025.
The common misconception about automation is that in the long term it will cost more jobs than it creates. The fact of the matter is that this is simply not true. Automation, working alongside effective ERP solutions, provides workforces the freedom to become more specialized and efficient. Automation works in tandem with ERP to conserve resources and take the mundane and repetitive tasks out of the picture.
As a result, the human component of businesses can take on more logical, critical thinking-oriented tasks. This adds value to the business by strengthening the quality of care customers receive and nurtures the satisfaction employees receive when they occupy more critical and appreciated roles in their careers.
When the goal is to be agile both on the shop floor and in the marketplace, manufacturers need tools that allow them significant maneuverability. ERP systems have traditionally been the biggest component of operational adaptability when circumstances change behind the scenes. Cloud ERP is one recent example of innovation in Industry 4.0 that has reinvigorated the manufacturing space for enterprises of every size. A survey by Technology Evaluation Centers revealed Epicor ERP ranked as the top solution for growing small and medium businesses.
The latest component of Industry 4.0, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), maybe be an unfamiliar concept now, but soon these three words will be on the lips of operators big and small all over the world. RPA is already generating substantial revenue savings for businesses, with $50 million recovered in 2017, with a projected compound annual growth rate of more than 60% through 2026. Coupling this emerging technology with a business-centric solution like ERP systems will ensure your workforce is free to engage in the more demanding aspects of your operations, all while automation handles the rest.
There are a host of reasons why businesses ask the question: Do We Really Need an ERP solution? You may be asking yourself the very same regarding your business’ current state. For many growing enterprises, ERP is a “four-letter word”. However, operating within cobbled systems that demand attention with every little update or modification is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound. This approach bleeds businesses dry. Addressing the shortcomings of siloed systems and preparing for growth before you’re inundated with orders, data, and paperwork by implementing an effective ERP solution will make all the difference.